Posts Tagged ‘Oak’

Walking the dog and Autumn.

April 5, 2019

IMG_0067the Manchurian tree

Our Manchurian pear-tree

The weather is getting to the benign state of allowing daily walks in comfort. The hot blue skies and simmering asphalts have finally given way to soft rain with dove-grey clouds keen to welcome an honest autumn. Even the TV’s weatherman has taken on a calmer stance, showing a clear bias to cooler nights and crispy mornings. Two weeks ago I moved the aircon switch from cool to heat together with adding an extra blanket on our beds.

Here in the Highlands the seasons are distinctly different and is particularly inspiring to watch in the changing of garden greens and trees. Oaks, birch, claret ash, the different beeches, maples and elms are all keen to ditch their leaves. Soon the dreaded strapped on beefy looking  leaf- blowing Bowral Burghers will announce their presence.  I’ll try and summons patience and acceptance of the things we cannot change!  Gardening as a whole has become so much noisier and taken on the form of a war against the growing of things.  I often feel that over-enthusiastic bourgeois gardeners feel it all has to be kept in check and dominated and so line up on Saturday mornings, and buy all those petrol driven equipment to achieve that.

In our housing complex the gardeners are forever being implored to keep things tidy. Some ten years ago when this complex of eight town house were built a unified garden was established which included the Virginia creeper. This creeper always gives a great display during autumn with leaves turn a bright red to burnt-orange. They are fast growers and climb happily against any wall. They use tine anchors in the shape of little suckers to climb up. However, all of those creepers were removed. They were seen as not being ‘tidy’ by the management of this complex. We insisted on keeping our Virginia creeper.  It happily grows against our garage wall each year and even sometimes climbs over a section of the roof.

Milo, our Jack Russell terrier also prefers the cooler weather. He never fails to get admirers who will stop in order to pet him. Sometime he will jump up and sniff their bags. He hopes for a treat. He was lucky a few weeks ago when a woman stopped and opened her bag with hot chicken in it and gave Milo a juicy warm piece of chicken, freshly cooked. Milo showed his pleasure by wagging his tail.

Can you imagine how nice the world would be if men would treat each other in  similar fashion? I don’t know if I will ever reach a level whereby I would offer food to other people on the streets. I do give generously to people who play an instrument or sing on the streets. I went as far as losing my shopping trolley tokens last week to a man playing the didgeridoo. I just emptied my pockets on his little blanket that he had spread on the pavement. More and more people are going hungry. In ‘rich’ Australia many children go to school without even having had breakfast. Why don’t all schools follow Finland? Twice in a row, Finland has been nominated as the ‘happiest country’ in the world. All primary schools provide lunches and have done so for decades.

 

A surrender to the Meat pie.

March 25, 2019
Image result for meat pie

 

The walk with our Jack Russell dog ‘Milo’ is during the week-ends taken along a small river that flows through our small town. This routine was established because of the town itself being inundated with motor bikes and their riders during week-ends. Milo has a ‘thing’ about motor bikes which through the years we haven’t been able to solve, no matter how many dog psychology books we have read, or trained him to accept motor bikes. He just goes ballistic. Most of the motor bikes are being driven by pre-coronary failure bearded middle-aged men on their last hurrah before the motor bike gets replaced by the mobility walker.

We broke with this river walk tradition, and took Milo to town last week-end. The weather was pleasant with the sun demurely casting a nice glow amongst the oaks and birches planted in the town square. The town square is surrounded by enough shops and cafeteria to give it an almost European feel of a community at ease enjoying a Sunday without guilt.

As we started to get a bit hungry I suggested we might get something to eat. We sometimes go the whole hog and order ‘lunch’, mainly at Thai restaurants of which Bowral sports a couple.  Depending on the level of hunger, we also, at times, just grab a sandwich or share a plate of fish and chips. This time however, like a bolt out of the sky, Helvi said; ‘I might get a meat pie’. One has to understand that Helvi in all her past septuagenarian years never ever had a meat pie. She took one look at a meat-pie back in 1965 after our arrival in Australia as a married couple, and almost fainted. ‘How could you have shown me that’, she asked? I explained to her that my first experience of Australia was the meat pie. Years before our marriage and as a young 16-year-old newly arrived from Holland, I worked in factories sweeping and cleaning but also ordering lunches for the workers. The main lunch orders were meat pies and bottles of Fanta soft drinks. I was amazed at the conspicuous wealth shown of Australia already then. At times, half eaten pies were thrown out, just like that! Can you imagine? To be able to afford throwing out food surely was the epitome of a belching opulence and wealth. I might have had trouble then in accepting this new cultural discovery but put it down as proof of Australia being everything that we had been told. Not exactly streets paved with gold, but at least with a thick runny brown gravy bravely encased in a brown baked crust.

After Helvi’s declaration and intention to eat a meat pie, I could hardly contain myself. For the first time too, ever! I asked her what changed her mind. She said; The shop advertises that their meat-pies have won many ribbons at the yearly Sydney’s Easter Show. This show is Australia largest agricultural event. A competition of all agricultural products imaginable, even those that are unimaginable. A rich yearly kind of carnival where kids pester their parents to visit, mainly to get their hands on ‘show bags’. Show bags are made to corrupt kids into eating sugar and contain amongst other, Coca-Cola, Mars Bars, Violant crumble, sickening lollies, fizzy powders and much more. After a day of murderous mayhem, the exhausted mothers and kids used to be able to get relief at Bex , Vincent APC and other nauseous and headache relieving medication bars near the exit. I kid you not. They were called BARS!

Anyway, the pie shop is called ‘The Gumnut’ and the windows are full of Easter show ribbons and awards proving their meat-pies ‘year in year out’, are indeed the best in Australia. The meat-pie judging is done by seven pie experts on a podium in clear sight of judges, all in white garb and donning white caps. Gloved fingers prod the pies for buoyancy, firmness, springiness, before actual sampling. It is an exhausting all day affair. The public, including nervous nail-biting pie enthusiasts are seated in the special arena where the judging takes place. We know how involved this all can be because we used to show our finest alpacas at the Easter-show. (Sadly, we never won a ribbon.) It turns out, according to the ribbons shown in this Bowral pie shop, that their pies are the best.

And this, dear readers was the reason that Helvi for the first time ever had a meat-pie. She loved it. ‘Real beef, she exclaimed’!